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  • Cole Deyo

Olivet Women’s Basketball Sends Their Seniors Out with a Win

On Feb. 7, Olivet was able to send their seniors from the Women’s basketball team home with a 76-73 win over a resilient St. Mary’s Catholic squad. The comets were able to maintain their lead through efficient shot making, going 41% from the field. Paired with the offensive attack, the defense stifled the Belles holding them to just 30% from the field. Led by their four senior starters the lady comets gutted out a closed game and proved their passion for the sport, each other, and the University. Seniors Julia Decker, Lily Connelly, Madison Bailey, and Savannah Pavoni were all honored prior to the game. 

After the ceremonies celebrating the seniors, the comets were determined. They came out on fire starting the game on an 11-0 run. Despite jumping out to a comfortable lead, some turnovers and fouls let the Belles slow claw at the deficit. The comets were led by freshman Christina Malackanich and Connelly who each put up four points in the quarter. The Belles started to rally late in the quarter which was a major theme throughout the game. Although St. Mary’s was able to hit a three and pick up a few more from the line, the bench of Olivet came in and got some much-needed buckets to help maintain the lead. This came in the form of sophomore Kinsley Hatfield, and freshmen Ellie Baynes and Savannah Brewer all contributing two points.  

The comets continued to be aggressive in their defense, which led them into some slight foul trouble. This did not inhibit the offense though as some creative ball movement from Connelly, and some sharp cuts from the off-ball players had the Comets extending their lead. Olivet was able to clean up the fouls but keep the aggression which allowed for a few turnovers. The comets ran into some offensive trouble, as St. Mary’s did not break with some strong inside offense allowed them to keep in the game. In the last two minutes of the half, the Belles cut the Comets' lead to just two. With a score of 46-44, the stage was being set for a dramatic finish.  

During halftime, the fans remained invested and rowdy, as they mobbed the concessions there were many discussions of the game's outcome. sophomore Myles Parker shared his thoughts on the atmosphere at the game. “You can really feel how bad the seniors want this right now,” Myles remarked, “Not only that you can feel how bad all of us want them to win.” That feeling of desire was papabile. The Football team was filling up the stands, the Women's Soccer team was coming in after practice to offer their support till the end. A fan ran across the court during a free throw yelling “Wait” as he tried to be the distraction on the shot. The community was enthralled with showing their Seniors who have sacrificed so much, the support they deserve. 

Coming out of half St. Mary took over the block. With a powerful post-game, they captured the lead for a moment, but the Comets would not be denied. They responded by penetrating and hitting a few floaters, and then some big threes from freshman, Kaylee Bush, and Brewer. This allowed Olivet to not just recapture the lead, but extend it by a considerable margin, but like a professional tennis match this bout remained back and forth, and St. Mary's strong play in the post allowed them to keep the score within two heading into the final quarter.  

Both teams came to the final quarter shooting from a distance. Starting off the fourth with trading threes, and it appeared it was going to be a shootout till the finish, but Olivet regained their footing and started turning more turnovers into fast break points. With four minutes left Olivet managed to take a commendable lead of 63-56, and that’s when the Belle’s started to full court press. The pressure ending up creating some big three-point opportunities which St. Mary’s was able to capitalize on. Olivet’s earlier cushion, and some clutch responses put St. Mary’s in a position where they had to foul. The Comets personified consistency and discipline at the line in the final seconds going 13-14 during free throws in the quarter. Even with St. Mary’s late offensive being productive, the Comet’s kept the lead, with a final score of 76-73.

After the game Lily Connelly, who led the game in team points, rebounds, and assists; shared her thoughts on what it meant it to her to be a Comet. She started of simply, “It means a lot, I came in as a transfer last year and it felt like we have really come together. This year means more to us, and it was important that we leave it all out there for the ones that we are not sure are coming back.”   


All statistics are provided by the University of Olivet’s Athletic website through the Sports Information Director Geoff Henson.  


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